Man accused of stealing car

Cantos allegedly took luxury Lincoln from dealership

A Hollidaysburg man is behind bars after police say he stole a car from an Altoona car dealership and then led state police on a high-speed chase.

Javier A. Cantos Jr., 22, was taken into custody just before midnight on Wed­nesday after state police, using spike strips and a PIT maneuver to make the vehicle turn abruptly, forced Cantos to stop. He had earlier fled a traffic stop on Old Route 22 in Allegheny Township and tried to get away from troopers on I-99.

According to charges filed by Altoona police, Cantos allegedly stole a 2018 Lincoln Continental Reserve sedan after walking into Courtesy Ford, 401 Pleasant Valley Blvd., at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and asking a salesman, “What is the most luxurious vehicle that you have?”

Police said Cantos picked out the Continental and then made an unusual request — he wanted to test drive the car without the salesman or any other Courtesy employee riding along.

After it was explained to him that it wasn’t possible because of insurance reasons, Cantos and the salesman took the $67,925 car for a short test drive.

When they returned and Cantos attempted to buy the car, he was told that because of his credit and the fact he recently had a car repossessed, he couldn’t get financing and Courtesy would be unable to sell him the car.

Police said it was then that Cantos walked out of the dealership, climbed into the Continental that was still parked right outside and drove off. Police noted Cantos had supplied the salesman with identification before the test drive.

Altoona police were contacted; the car was entered into the system as stolen; and after obtaining a phone number for Cantos from a relative, numerous calls were made to his phone. Police said Cantos rejected those calls.

About 11:40 p.m., state police spotted the Conti­nental and pulled Cantos over. He initially stopped but then pulled out and fled at a high rate of speed before state police forced the car to a stop on I-99.

State police indicated Cantos was DUI, and he faces those charges along with possession of drug paraphernalia, recklessly endangering another person, fleeing police and receiving stolen property. Cantos was booked on Altoona police charges of felony theft and receiving stolen property as well as a misdemeanor count of unauthorized use of an automobile.

Cantos was released on a unsecured $50,000 bond and is due to appear Nov. 28 at Central Court for a preliminary hearing.